tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 21, 2014 11:30am-1:31pm EDT
really strong thighs and stuff. but you're more or less designed to walk where you need to go to the public transport bus that takes you if you can't walk and there's options for you to get some snacks for food. food. there's options for you to eat and exercise. there's options to go to the library to the bookstore, they are all walkable. one thing that is going to help nudge the food policy as younger people want more walkable and firearms when they leave college, too. one thing that's interesting is the real estate has shown this in the last five years as real estate become tighter the areas that have lost the most investment are the areas of the ex- suburbs so far outside of the suburban areas where you can't do anything unless you drive. i don't think most of us want to live like that even if it means we have to have a smaller house i think most of us would rather live in a place that you can
walk to a coffee shop or bar and i think that would also help to shift the policy because you can't have a major mega super wal-mart in a walkable environment. and so i think we are choosing in the other areas of our policies and lifestyles we are choosing systems that don't fit with the current food system and i think that's really cool that maybe something like urban design or urban planning and maybe by policies which are getting more attention all around the world, not just here in california where we should be biking but literally everywhere around the world. that is really connected to the food policy and giving people a reason to say i want to be able to bike somewhere. and maybe i am not going to get the buy one get one free because i can't carry it in my bag.
it seems disconnected but they are very connected and that will help nudge the policy in the right direction. the major policy question is campaign finance reform. can we get the lobbyists to not be able to decide our every move, and that would be a big help. >> the >> people have to learn to cook again and in school when i was growing up, we had a hell mac and you didn't have a basket full of the chuckles the --
vegetables. not one of the three generations can cook. everything they ate was bought. where can you get food preparation and learning how to cook? >> the question is how do we get people to cook again and get back into their kitchens. there are so many examples of people struggling with health and weight issues related to food where they are eating only things that are packaged. i think actually on this slide is a little company i started called the apron and project which was on the picture on one of the slides. i think it's funny. there is a total hipster movement around do-it-yourself stuff and cooking that's also like some of it is connected to the food movement and some of it
is just i want to do things cheaply and nothing was only made overseas and terrible factories. so that is another bubble sort of area that's nudging on food system change. but the fundamental thing is it's really weird, and i will just -- historically i will call out the feminist movement it is geared to that part of the feminist movement was to throw off your apron and don't be a slave to the kitchen anymore but to be a slave to a company making a product in their kitchen who's going to put you on a course to permanent obesity and make you hate your body image in a way that -- and i think that the young feminist conversation is like wait a minute. if i am outsourcing my food intake i'm actually getting all the power to demand any way. and so i think there is an energy around finding new ways to embrace things like cooking
and making your own smoothies. these are steps that people take. but i think there is a lot more realization that it's not only because it is a cute martha stewart thing to do because it is incredibly powerful -- today's power to control what actually goes into your body instead of just taking whatever is given to you. if we come out of cooking from that perspective, it may be a better way to reach the foot of next generation and by the way it is also a men's issue, too. there's a lot of energy. jamie alexander is another. but just around men that are chefs but that wants to cook and also sort of control this one part of their lives that previously they were often left to other people. so i think that reframing cooking as an empowerment tool i think is a smart way to go into
this totally working because there is so much more energy around cooking now than there was even a short time ago. so coke, everybody. please join me in thanking our speaker. [applause] thank you for that great presentation. the example that you provided to act in the difference one individual can make and how we can make a difference in the world is a great message for all of us. to remember your time here we have a moment -- memento. >> thanks. [applause] who >> the >> thank you all for coming.
officials. the banning of the asset fees are hitting vladimir putin's inner circle including the deputy prime minister adviser, the federation speaker in several military officials. the leaders have also decided that the summit in brussels to prepare economic sanctions in the case of the situation of eastern ukraine deteriorates. further we do expect to hear more about this in today's white house briefing with press secretary jay carney. we will have live coverage of that here on c-span2. another view of the situation today and events at the george washington university. college professors from ukraine and estonia will be a part of a discussion of ukraine including the reaction of europe and the u.s. and position of president putin. the institute for european and eurasian studies on new approaches to research and security in eurasia is the host of this event. we will have the 3:30 eastern on our companion network c-span. at the end of the day i
think the economy is going to continue to need an honest monetary stimulus and i think the fed will not be raising the rates for quite sometime, but i'm optimistic that the economy is going to accelerate and i think one of the core dimensions is the fact that last year it grew 1.9% with the fiscal drugs from higher taxes and government spending cuts reducing growth by 1.3 percentage points. so, without that fiscal tightening the economy would have been growing over 3%. plus it isn't making policy recommendations, and that is very important because the policy choices depend not just on the analysis and the consequences of the different courses of action but also how one ways those consequences and what to tell you is and without use one applies. there isn't anything valued up to the elected leaders to make those policy judgments. our job is to help the congress understand the consequences that
budget request. the proposal is requesting $109.3 billion includes cutting over 20,000 airmen along with retirement of the a-10 aircraft and the u-2 spy plane. deborah lee james and mark welsh provided testimony emphasizing the impact on the readiness. the congressman buck mckeon of california chairs this two-hour hearing. the committee will come to ord order. i want to thank you all for joining us here today as we consider the fiscal year budget request for the department of the air force. i appreciate the witness with ty and there's a part of the airmen. joining us today are the honorable deborah lee james, secretary of the air force and the general mark welsh, chief of staff of the air force and he is
brightened up the room a little bit by inviting his wife and his daughter lives to be with us. thank you for joining us. i want to welcome the secretary, the 23rd secretary of the air force. as this is her first posture hearing before the committee. we are also delighted that she is a further past staff members. we were talking before we came in and she pointed out where one of her offices was in her tenure on the staff. happy to have you back. welcome back. while this committee and you have warned about the consequences of the cuts to the defense budget i don't think policymakers in washington or the american people really understand how much has been cut and what it means. although the budget request highlights reinvestment in the
readiness, the air force cannot meet its readiness until 2023. whalet me read that again. at 2023. ten years almost from now. that is how big that readiness deficit is. the cuts that we made over the last couple of years or so deep, and the budget forecast into the future -- what is our problem? that has basically flattened out so to try to refill the whole width of the limited resources of the future. making the difficult force structure trade-offs and this is
year's budget alone is retiring to pretty good aircraft. because we don't have the resources to maintain them and they have the unique capabilities to combatant commanders and it's the procesf this point me to that aircraft. people before you have said that you are a pilot and it kind of indicatea kind ofindicated thatd getting rid of the a-10. it's amazing how things work. but the ones we should probably be asking about on the ground forces that have their lives saved and i understand the dilemma that we are facing.
a general, you said it best when you pose the question we want a force today or in modern force tomorrow? i know the air force is trying to nick the best of the bad situation as all of the services are, but i fear that the way that we are heading will have neither. the nation expects the air force to be superior and to be ready. we don't want to go into any fights whether to deploy to reassure the eastern european allies, to monitor the missile launches are out of the world and provide close air support and intelligence to the troops in afghanistan, which of those missions would be like to eliminate. the superiority is a road in the air space and cyberspace. the forces are already strained meeting the day-to-day requirements in the crisis or conflict. i said this to the navy and marinmarine corps and i will sat again today is this the air
force we want for the nation? last why do we continue to debate the funding we cannot forget the values and standards to which we hold our military and take the matters and leadership matters. the vast majority of the service members and bodies those values daily. unfortunately we have read too many stories recently that have behavioral and cultural problems that have permeated the nuclear enterprise. manning the nation's nuclear deterrent is an immense responsibility and i know there are many who have dared to this with the utmost skill and professionalism. however a few bad eggs put at risk the mission and obtained a record of the rest of the air force. that cannot be allowed to happ happen. these remind us not to lose scheidt of the shared values and the importance of reversing the dangerous trajectory. i look forward to your testimony
here today. ms. sanchez? >> thank you mr. chairman and added to the secretary and the general it is a pleasure to have you before us today. general, i often use the speech at usaf to my leadership classes back home so grateful to have you here today. i will be submitting the ranking member staff rangin's testimony. before i -- before we have the witnesses give their testimony, i just want to let you know that i am looking for in particular to areas of discussion. the first, i continue to be extremely concerned with respect to the leadership and personnel within the icbm no clear cases of misconduct, low morale, cheating on a test, not
conducting themselves in a manner that air force, and i think this committee would agree with me that this is totally unacceptable and that this issue needs to be addressed so i would like to hear you say what you are doing with respect to that. and second, i have been closely monitoring the lack of competition in the air force space launch programs. and unfortunately, i just learned that the air force has made the decision to continue this trend by reducing the competitive opportunities by 50%. and i think that is a very unfortunate outcome because i believe that competition drives down prices and burns up talente talent so those are two areas i would like you to address as you move forward. thank you mr. chairman. i look forward to testimony. >> thank you. madame secretary?
>> congresswoman sanchez is truly an honor for me to be here this morning and thank you for your kind opening as you said this was kind of like coming home before me and i will admit i have more experience sitting in a chair in the back of this brew them in the chair on this side of the table but it's great to be back here and it's particularly apropos as a graduate of the military personnel and compensation to have this be i first posture hearing. the general and i have prepared remarks that i would ask to be said for the record and summarize with your conference. i also want to take a moment. >> statements will be entered in iraq or the. >> i would also like to take a moment to sa say there's a lot f people that are morning that you will be retiring from the congress and so i want to say i don't think it is too late to reverse that decision.
i don't know if you will but we are grateful for all the work you have done over the years for the men and women in uniform and we will surely miss you a great deal. the biggest honor and privilege for me in this job and i m. e. 11 weeks old and a job now is to be part of this terrific and very best air force in the entire planet. that is 690,000 more or less active-duty national guard reserve and civilian air men and women as well as their families. that is the total team and i'm part of that now and it is an honor and a privilege. during my first 11 weeks i have been very busy not only studying up on all of the budgetary matters and all of the programs you to try again to get on top of that as best as possible, but i've been out and about in the air force and action. in the 13 states that's where i've been so far and there've been quick trips that have been
helpful. first of all i know did the leaders of all levels into these are officer leaders as well as enlisted leaders. the tough budgetary environment are doing it with a can-do spirit and are getting things done despite difficulties. i had seen superb total force teamwork and i'm talking particularly with the national guard reserve forces into the active-duty work this is from headquarters down to the unit level and i've seen them get the job done. the amazing air men who are enthusiastic about what they are doing in the service to the nation and everywhere i go iger townhall meetings. bui did townhall meetings. but with enthusiasm, they also are looking to us and to you. they are looking to the nation's leaders for decisions and greater stability if we can give it to them and leadership in the
fairy challenging times. and indeed, these are very challenging times in terms of the security environment and declining budgets he talked about, mr. chairman. and in the submission before you we have done our best to tackle these challenges head on in a thoughtful and deliberate and very inclusive way. in the fy 15 budget, we do have a strategy jerkin budgets but let's face the facts we are severely limited in the budget control act and the bipartisan act. for 2015 we do hit the dollar targets but it also contains the opportunity growth and security initiative and this is a 26 billion-dollar initiatives across for us and the air force it is about $7 million if we are granted these additional funds to spend them on their readiness
and other key investments to get us closer to where we want and need to be in the hope we get a chance to talk about that more during the q-and-a. we have difficult choices that we make and we will talk more about that as we get further into it. the key thing is that this is a budget in which we are rebalancing. mr. chairman, you said as readiness and the future it is not an either or. we need to have both. as we get into this i'm pretty sure there's going to be a fair amount of unhappiness and as we get into the q-and-a the preamble to many answers will be via faced with the difficult choices in the budgetary situation we made these choices. don't mean to sound like a broken record on that, but it is the truth. there are no elements of low
hanging fruit in the budget. a few words on the strategy. there are strategy imperatives for today. it's been laid out this is the first budget coming out after 13 years of world war that we are beginning to transition. we need to defend the homeland against all strategic threats and build a security globally by protecting the influence and deterring aggression and we need to remain prepared to win decisively against the adversary should it fail in your air force is important to all of those elements and that's today. but there's also tomorrow. there is a strategy imperatives tomorrow. new technologies, new centers of power particularly the pacific in the world. of the world in which we can no longer accept that american dominance of disguise will be preeminent. we have to get ready and have ability to operate in a contested environment. again, the air force is critical
as well in the future. we have to have both today and tomorrow is peace. if we turn to the budget realities we are grateful to the greater stability and additional bump up in fy 14, the additional stability in fy 15. it doesn't solve all that it was a great help. we are hopeful for the fy 14 appropriations and the many decisions contained. and the bomb but there were trade-offs that have to be made because the 2015 topline and beyond is a whole lot less than we ever thought was possible a few short years ago. i've been in and around of the business and add observer on the scene for more than 30 years. there is always a strategy and budget and they never match exactly. there's a certain degree of mismatch. the decisions are based on the best military judgment and what we think are prudent risks.
albeit this is a more complex and difficult year than most. as i said there was no low hanging fruit as best as i can tell. reduce capacity in order to gain capability. so that means we chose when necessary the reductions in the manpower and structure to sustain readiness and guarantee the technological superiority. we slowed the growth in the military compensation in order to free up money to plow back into today's readiness as well as the recapitalization. we chose to delay or terminate some programs to protect higher priority programs at least what we thought were higher priority and we thought the cost savings in a number of ways reducing the headquarters putting us on a glide path on the reserve we sought reductions in a number of ways in order to try to balance
all this out as best as we could. i would like to give you some of the decisions within the context of the three priorities that i've laid out for the air force. and those priorities are taking care of people balancing readiness with tomorrow's readiness and number three in shoring that we have the best air force we possibly can have the best value for the taxpayers. everything i work on for the prism of those priorities. so taking care of people, that means a lot to me. everything comes down to people as far as i'm concerned and it's a multifaceted area for taking care of people means retaining the best people, developing them once we have them in the force, having the diversity of the background in the family programs that means dignity and respect for old and making sure that everybody is on top of and
leading and living our core values as you talked about the importance of the integrity mr. chairman. it means fair compensation going forward. it's all about taking care of people. let me zoom in on two areas in particular that has controversy associated. we are going to be a small air force in the future. we will be coming down on all of our components active guard reserve and civilians. so, we will get smaller and rely more on the guard and reserve as we get smaller we also need to shape the air force so on the active-duty site right now we have certain and balances. we have certain categories and areas where we have too many people and then we have other categories in the areas where we have a few people who in addition to bringing the numbers down we need to rebalance. so we ha have a series of progrs that we are offering some in
other categories. some are voluntary incentives going forward and then if we can't get the numbers in the balance of there are in voluntary programs as well so this is on the mind of our air mea rareman and i want to bringo your attention as well. another area of controversy as compensation, slowing the growth in military compensation. this was one of those hard decisions that nobody is happy with but we felt given the fact that it's raising quite a bit particularly in the last decade and as we look at the comparability in the civilian sector, we felt that slowing that growth was a reasonable approach in the next several years as we attempt to plow money back into readiness. as of again hard decisions. those were two particular areas on the mind of quite a few people right now. this leads me to the second priority that is balancing the readiness of today with tomorrow. it's going to do so by go to get
back to the readiness level that we wish to have where we can do the full range of capabilities. we take a big hit with sequestration last year and for fy 14 we need to get back on the glide path. we need to fully fund the hours that we have done in other high-priority readiness issues and we will see gradual improvements if we can secure these resources. ..
we have the monies in our five year plan for next-generation aircraft and replacement for our aging tea 38 trainer aircraft. there's a billion dollars in there for new energy technology. also critical advances in our space capabilities. is all of the things that we chose to invest in in some cases doubling down in our investment. but, of course, in order to do the readiness of today and these intestines or tomorrow that's what we can giunta, what are we going to reduce? went to we take some of the prudent risks? here are some of the highlights of some of the reductions that we are proposing to take. first of all the retirement of the a-10 fleet. i know that's an extremely like a virtual area will talk about that i'm sure as we get into q&a but i want you to know we are absolutely committed to the close air support mission. we will not let it drop. i come to come the tide -- try
to talk to commanders on the ground. general welsh knows far more about than i do but we are going to cover it and we can cover it with other aircraft, and we commit that we will. retirement of the u2 fleet and we will keep the global hawk 30, having both fleets together would be terrific but it's not affordable that we feel under the circumstances, and the our requirements which when you add those together we are above validator requirement for high altitude reconnaissance. so once again in a tough budget environment this was because we felt we could assume some risk. we will have limited growth in our combat air patrol. this is the predators. so we had originally said a couple years back we're going to go to 65 of these so-called caps. and our proposal we will go to 55. by the way today we are at 50 so we are still growing, not just growing as much. and over time we will retire the
predators in favor of having an anti-fleet. will be retiring one in favor of the other. by making these tough choices today, begin we think we will preserve our combat capability and make each taxpayer dollar count better for the future. which leads me to the third priority, and that's value to the taxpayer and how are we going to ensure that going forward. there's a whole host of areas here. we've got to keep those acquisition programs on budget and on schedule. we've got to work toward auditability and the need to join with her secretary of defense and ask you please for another round of base closures authority beginning in 2070. there's lots of initiatives we've got i'm going to make every dollar count for the taxpayer. the to a couple. we will be cutting our headquarters. he gave us a goal of getting that done over five years and this is 20% of the money by the wacom not necessary 20% people.
20% of the money. we said we will try to get that done more quickly. so i will predict will get that done in one year, not five. and hopefully will do even better than 20%, giving us an opportunity stand back and review how we do things and we will do things a little bit differently and do better than that 20%. so that's one area that i wanted to bring to your attention. let me also turned and began to wrap up, sequestration but if we return to sequestration levels in fy '16 and beyond, first of all if there's one key take away from this hearing is we feel that would not be the way to go. we ask you to not go that way in your final decision. we feel it would simply be too much of a compromise for our national security. but if we have to return to those levels we have tried to think through how we would manage. so let me just give you a few of those highlights. if we have to return to
sequestration, this would mean the retirement of up to 80 more aircraft, including the kc-10 tanker fleet. we would choose to defer upgrades to the global hawk that we would need to make it otherwise, to make it more with the u2. would have to defer those. we would have to retire the global hawk block 40. this is a long endurance look down greater to detect and track moving targets. we want to do this because it will minimize our risk during transition in next 10-k star but we don't feel we can afford. we have to go back to sequestration to we would slow the purchase of the f-35. we would have 45 of these caps with our predators that i told you about rather than 55. we couldn't do that next-generation engine program i told you about and we would have to probably reevaluate the combat rescue helicopter and a whole host of other things. so that sequestration level is not a good deal for us, not a
good deal for the country and we would ask you to please try to support those higher areas. so in conclusion, mr. chairman, we're going to be a smaller air force in the future but we are committed to making sure we are capable and innovative and ready. we are committed to being a good value for the taxpayer taking every dollar that we spend account, able to respond overseas as well as here at home when disaster strikes. we will be more reliant not less but more reliant on our national guard and reserve, and we will be fueled by the very best in come in and on the planet. so i thank you so much for what all of you do for all of us, and i now will yield to general welsh. >> general. >> thank you, mr. chairman and distinguished root of the committee. it's always an honor to be with you. mr. chairman, thank you also for introducing my wife and daughter. i haven't had the pleasure to introduce betty to you but my wife is magic.
she is just magic. and i'm really glad you're getting a chance to meet her, and my dog is smarter and more talented than both of us so she just embarrasses me. it's wonderful to have them here. it's also wonderful to be sitting next to my new boss who is doing good things for air force and i believe you'll find this would be a great thing for our relationship with this committee. i'm looking forward to having her school me on the right way to do this job and the right way to communicate with this body. i'd like to add my special thanks for your and powerless support of our national defense, all of our services, air force in particular and our airmen for your 20 plus years in the congress. you are remarkable public servant, and we thank you for your example. ladies and gentlemen your air force is defined in the world and we need to keep it that way. we built this budget to ensure air force combat power remains unequaled. that does not mean it will remain unaffected to every major decision reflected in her f-15 budget proposal hurts.
each of them reduces capability that ou are combatant commands would love to have and believe they need. there are no more easy cuts. that's just where we are. we cannot ignore the fact that the law says we will return to sequester funny levels in fy '16. to prepare for that the air force must cut people and force structure now to create a force that is balanced enough we can afford to train and operate it in 16 and beyond. we started our budget planning by making two significant assumptions. first is that the air force must be capable of fighting and winning a full spectrum fight against a well armed, well-equipped, well-trained enemy. second is it ready today versus modern tomorrow cannot be an either/or decision. we must be both. we also knew the overwhelming majority of reductions in the budget would have to come from readiness, force structure and modernization. that's where the money is. understanding that we tried to great the best balance possible
between readiness, capability and capacity across our five missionaries. the appropriations bill you passed out loud is to fully fund our readiness accounts in fy '15, and i'll add my thank you to the process but even with continued funding at that level it will take 10 years to return to full readiness. it's a complicated equation and there's lots of things we have let slide to fund activity over the last 14 years. because we needed to reduce our planning, spending in other areas by billions of dollars a year, trimming around the edges wasn't going to get it done. we looked at cutting fleets of aircraft as a way to great the significant savings required. in air superiority mission, we had a proposal but eliminating an entire fleet would leave us unable to provide air superiority for full theater of operations. and no other service can do that. isr is no one shortfall are combatant commands identified year after year after year. they would never support even more cuts than we've already had to put in our plan.
we have several fleets in the global building mission area. i spoke with chief of staff ray odierno to ask what he thought about reductions of the airlift fleet. is the was a small army would need to be more responsive and be able to move more quickly. he did not think for the reduction of airlift assets was a good idea. we looked at air refueling fleets and we did consider the vesting the kc-10 but the analysis showed his mission impact was two significant at the rates we could afford to keep it. however, as the boss said if we do return to sequester funny level in 16 this option must be back on the table. we would have to cut many more kc-130 five's and kc-10's to achieve the same savings and with that many kc-130 five out of the fleet would not be able to meet our mission requiremen requirements. in the strike mission area, we looked at cutting the a-10. also looked at the f-16s and f-15. as the chairman mentioned i am a pilot country. that's what i grew up.
we have a son who's a marine corps infantry officer. close air support is not an afterthought to me. and it is not going to be a secondary mission in the united states air force. but air support is not an aircraft. it's a mission. we do at a very, very well with a number of airplanes today. the reason we looked at the a-10 is because we can save $3.7 billion across by the vesting the fleet and another 500 million cost avoidance that would be required to achieve the same savings would require a much higher number of these f-16s but we also keep this option. we rented it to operational analysis can bring the best -- to the vestiges of the b-1 fleet reducing the f-16 fleet deferring procurement of a number of f-35s or decreasing readiness further by standing at a number of fighter squadron. we use the standard beauty planning scenarios and the
result should cutting the a-10 fleet was those risk operation, the lowest best option from operational perspective. while no one especially media savvy about recommending the vestiges of this great old friend, it's the right decision from a military perspective. it's representative of extreme difficult choices that we will be forced to make. the funding levels we can reasonably expect over the next 10 years dictate for america to have a capable, credible and viable air force in the mid-2020s we must get smaller now. we must modernize parts of our force but we can't modernize as much as we planned and we must maintain the proper balance across our core mission areas. thank you for your continued support of our air force and my personal thanks for unthinking support of our airmen and their families. the secretary and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. just a little bit on the light of the land. we understand we're going to
have votes about 10:15. will try to get as many questions and before that as we can, and i'll watch the time very closely. but we will come back after the votes, secretary and general, if you can see we would really appreciate it because we have many members that will have questions. so immediately after votes, those who can return, please come back because, quickly as possible, we'll get right back to the votes. general welsh, and my statement diagnosed that the air force is being forced to choose between a number of bad options. it isn't like we've got a good thing and a bad thing your those are the easy choices. those who made a long time ago. it's between good and good. and needed and needed.
divesting force structure to balance readiness modernization is a tough thing. what elements of the force structure proposed for divestiture would you recommend retaining if you hav had the but authority to do so? for example, isr is, we all at college, a mission of great concern. what others have similarly impactful consequences? >> the greatest shortfalls we have related to the combatant commands requirements every year our isr and fighter squadrons. those are the two things that we can't meet the demand on more strictly than anything else. by the way, in the isr category i would include command-and-control platforms like the awacs and the jstars your jstars does both force. i is hardly declared the first category that i would maintain
capability in. we do not meet the combatant commands requires today and as we do best more we will not meet them by a wider margin. and then we have to be careful about divesting our fight or flee to much because we're at a requirement today. we're going to go seven squadrons below are requirement with this budget and anything further just puts us farther away from what we have agreed as a department is required to meet the standing wa warplanes for combatant commands and their standing annual demand. >> i was talking to general amos a few months ago, and he was a wing commander during desert storm, i believe it was, and how many planes we had. and then i was talking to general hostage and helmand plains we could provide now if we had similar need. and its drastic, the different, like 10% now compared to what we have been. when we say the air force is getting smaller i think people need to understand, it will be
the smallest it has been since its inception. and madam secretary, you made a comment of sequestration is a problem. it's a huge problem, but it is the law of the land. and while we've got a short reprieve with this budget that was arrived at in december, it becomes back in full force in 16, and i think it's incumbent upon us to use those numbers. because that's, until there's a change, that would be the law of the land. and i think probably everybody on this committee and realizes the dangers we are facing because of it. but i think the american people need to know that the air force will be the smallest it's ever been there for navy is going back to the size it was in world war i the army and the marines are going back, the army back to
the smallest since world war ii, and the marines are going down to 175,000 force. that is the trajectory we are on right now, so these are dire situations that we are dealing with, and i'm not sure that the american people really understand how serious it is. so much of the time when we talk about cuts back here, it's really been can we slow the growth rate. these are real cuts. year over year over year. so thank you for the work that you are doing. ms. sanchez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have two questions. the first is the secretary james. welcome back by the way. maintaining the military flexibility to adequately sized the nuclear force is crucial to ensure that we have an optical
nuclear turn. i hope you agree with that. >> i do. >> what is the impact of the air force not having started the environmental assessment that would allow an evaluation of a reduction of icbm silos as part of the military decision on an optimal nuclear force structure for the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty? and does the air force plan to initiate that environmental assessment? and if so, why or why not? >> so of course the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty contains a variety of numbers that we have to get in terms of our total nuclear capability over a certain period of time, and it doesn't tell us how to do it. so in other words, there are choices that could be made either in the icbm force, the bomber force or the submarine force, or a combination thereof. so the department of defense have been looking at this for some time and i think within a
couple of weeks, two, three weeks we will have sort of a better feel of where this is heading. two of the moment we have not started an environmental assessment. we have gotten different bodies of law about what to do on that environmental assessment. and then, of course, within the department of defense we have been in discussions about what to do about environmental assessment. so again i think within the next few weeks we will have a better path forward and more information. >> if you could go back in what would you people a get some answers as to are you going to do it, when do you think you will start doing it, et cetera, et cetera, i would appreciate it because that's one of years that i watch quite a bit. given all the problems that we've had and what we really need to do to assess what's going on there. not to eliminate the triad but to figure out what we need in order to continue that deterrent, that we are capable of having. >> yes. >> my next question for you is, about the space launch programs
which i mentioned earlier. the issue of rising costs in the air force space launch program continues to be a great concern to many of us on this committee. i've always believed one of the ways to get more talent and to get smarter about this and to get more competitive on this, as you know we've had a one source situation for a long, long time, is to have competition which is why in 2012 undersecretary of defense frank kendall directed the air force, and i quote, to aggressively reintroduce a competitive procurement environment. so in 2012 the air force reached my office at the strategic forces subcommittee that it would be opening 14 opportunities for new entrants into the national security space launches. but now the air force has indicated that it plans to reduce this to only seven, so it's cut it by 50%, and that no
air force mission of able for competition in fiscal year '15, aside from just one, nro mission, so why did you do this? it contradicts, does that contradict the air force's commitment to introducing the competitive procurement process? and what will be the impact on sustaining competition? i'm a californian. there's several companies who are working to compete against the sole source. and again, you guys just issued another sole source to that company if i'm not against that company but i believe that was competition -- that with competition we can bring down the cost of these launches significantly am maybe the 50 or 25% of what it is costing us now. so if you could please speak to that, thank you. >> i will. one of my visits i been up to
colorado springs and i did spend some time with the space command out there. so first of all, i agree with everything you said on competition, and i'm a big believer in competition. i have asked by suspects in the same questions you've been asking. since we all believe in competition, why does it take as long as it has taken? here's the way i would describe the current state of play on the del key program. overtime it's been a very successful program. over time it is probably cost our country way more than any of us would've wished or dreamed. in recent years costs have been coming down. they are coming more under control i will say ending the we don't have that competition yet, i suspect the threat of competition out there is help us to bring down the cost. again good news for the taxpayer let's see if we can speed it up. why does it take as long as it takes? these launches of course, there's a variety of payloads and satellites they get launched and it's technically complex.
is different degrees of having as. that's one thing and then there's different payloads. some have almost catastrophic consequences if they worked to go will. it would be huge military significance so that's one type of satellite launch. then there's other satellite launches which although they are important and you would want anything to go wrong there either, you can infect you can take a look at more of a risk with new entrants and people who haven't quite demonstrate as much as the team has been doing in a long time. so specific of what has happened here is the launches that are going to go forward in the most immediate years of the five year plan, these are the really heavy-duty militarily significant launches, and that's the contract you just talked about where those launches will be done by the original team of ual i think it's called. the of the launches were we hope these new entrants will qualify,
those were deterred a bit. they will still happen, just later in the five year plan, and the reason for the actual baking is a bit of good news. the satellites are referred to in the secondary launches government existing satellites are doing better than we ever thought possible. they are lasting longer. that's a good news for the taxpayer. so we don't need to get the satellites up in orbit as quickly. that's why those got deferred but it was more combat reasons than money. so they aren't going to happen and we do want i want this new entrants qualified as soon as possible for all the same reasons that you pointed out, ms. sanchez. >> as you know this takes quite a bit of money to be a new entrants into that field. and so when you close down those competitive pieces, it, those companies have a harder time to outlast what you are doing by
diverting some of us. so i hope you understand that when i look at the cost, you may think that the numbers have come down with the original launch team, but i can go back and i can show you on a graph just how much this is costing the taxpayer when i can see a french company that does it for half the price paid by the way i'm not suggesting that this is a core value and we should hold it here, but we do have competition that has proven and will continue to prove if we open up those possibilities. and the more competition we have, just by having two companies will bring down that cost to the american taxpayer. so i'll continue with you on this thing. thank you. >> can i clarify one thing? over the next five year period, there are eight qualifying launches, assuming we get new entrants survived which i think
we will. seven of those will be complet completed. >> yes. that's 50% of what i was told just a year and a half ago. >> thank you. mr. forbes. >> thank you, mr. chairman him and madam secretary, general, thank you for being here. general, it's my understanding from previous discussions we've had that these cuts and all of the budget uncertainty is taking a bit of an impact on your morale and your ability for retention. is that i can? >> sir, we have not really seen a problem with retention to this point. i'm worried about a problem with retention over time, especially as the uncertainty continues and that's why we need to have a firm way forward, a number we can count on, and then aim towards the air force of the end of sequestration and make it the best it can be starting up.
>> i agree because all the platforms come down to personal sometimes. madam secretary, you're shaking your head. let me tell you an item that is of major concern to me. recently we read this week that a cadet at the air force was forced to take a bible verse off of a private whiteboard in his room. the facts that i've received from the air force, so these are not hypotheticals, is that this cadet had no intention to offend anyone or any crew. number two, that the private whiteboard had long been used to display items reflecting their personality and from which they draw personal inspiration. number three, they have long been used for citing inspirational quotes. and forth, this is perhaps the most offensive, the air force said this was a teaching moment that the cadets action in putting the bible verse on was inappropriate based upon leadership principles. general and madam secretary, that cadet, his family and the
other cadets who are now putting a bible verses and verses from the koran can't stand in front of you today but i can. here's the question i have for you. can you tell me any other inspirational quote that cadets have been forced to remove from their personal whiteboard, other than verses from the bible, one? in second i want to point out those to you. general, when you come in my office, i chair the seat are subcommittee. over the door you walk through i have our national motto, in god we trust. mr. mcintyre, the ranking member of this committee has that same model over his door. mr. miller who chairs the va committee has in god we trust up in his office. mr. conaway chairs the ethics committee has it up in his office. mr. wittman pictures the readiness subcommittee has it up in his office. dr. fleming has it up in his office. chairman of the government reform committee is putting it up in his office. chairman of the ways and means committee in his office. speaker of the house in his office. here's the question i asked for
both of you do today. give us that teaching moment of, one, how that's any different than this cadet putting his own personal verse on his own personal whiteboard? and number two, how is that offensive to leadership principles? >> so, perhaps i'll start if it's all right, mr. forbes. i read this in the press as well, and i did have a chance to talk to general johnson yesterday to say kind of what's going on with this. so i want to share with you what she should with in terms of how this incident actually unfolded. i'll get to that in just a second but first fma, i did want to read the policy of our air force about religious freedom. leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual, free exercise of religion and other personal beliefs and its prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. ..
leadership principles. at some point in time, madam secretary and general, we need to stand up for these cadets rights too. freedom of religion and exercise of that, whether they're putting it from the koran or the bible is not to make sure no person on the planet is offended, it is to say that cadet ought to have the right in own personal board to put that vers up. there help me with this. why if he is wrong, are all of us wrong in putting in god we trust up in our office? >> so, my facts come from general johnson. i apologize. i have not seen the paper you're looking at. what i just explained is the way -- >> my time's up. but i hope you guys come back for us for once the air force start standing up for these cadets and their rights instead of just constantly saying, if anybody at all opposes it, we're going to make them take these things down. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. chairman, may i very briefly answer the question? >> yes. >> i've been a commander africa
debt squadron at air force academy. we remove hundreds of quotes from the board, they're not in the room, congressman. they're in the hallway and used for personal professional messaging, we make sure we understand that context. what you said is absolutely true, every cadet has right to free religious expression if someone else comes to them, bothers me have that discussion, if that would happen i compliment both of them. we have to get the facts straight. general johnson. >> member my time is up. different if they have one-on-one discussion. that is not what happened. it is the chain of command came to this cadet and again, i'm just going by what your office has given me facts on the facts are wrong i can't answer that the second thing you can't have it bows way. you can't say we forced other people to take quotes off this was voluntarily done. if you ask this cadet and other cadets they don't believe it was voluntarily done. with that, mr. chairman i yield
back. >> thank you. mr. lars son. >> general welch, i'm on the subcommittee and i imagine as we have last couple of years we will have a debate about forward-deployed nuclear weapons in europe and, so, kick that off for the subcommittee at some point in the future when we have that hearing talk about costs of forward key employed nuclear units in europe and one or more countries nuclear capable aircraft a after their own aircraft are retired in 2020? >> yes, sir. the, the forward-deployed nuclear force takes money to maintain. it takes money to up grade. it takes money to secure and provide surety, any part of our
nuclear enterprise does. you have to pay attention. it is not insignificant cost. the actual specific costs are classified. i would be glad to come talk to you in detail about those. as nato nations, if they choose not to upgrade their own nuclear aircraft capabilities, then other nato nations have the capabilities from a operational perspective will pick up the load. that will be nato policy decision. the u.s. will be part of that discussion. we do have the capacity to pick up the load. >> and, then, can you discuss whether the fy-15 request includes funds to make the 35 jsf dual capable? >> sir, the department has committed to making the f-35 dual capable. there is a discussion ongoing now with nato partners. they don't believe they can afford to do that with their own aircraft without our support making the airplane dca capable that is the ongoing debate right now. that is not happening this year
but there is money in the five-year plan in this direction. >> in which direction? to support -- >> to insure that the aircraft can be made dual capable when it needs to be. >> the 35 or the, nato countries aircraft? >> the f-35, sir. >> f-35. did you say, did you say in that answer though if, that we may be called upon to pay for other countries to upgrade their aircraft? >> no, sir. what i was referring to was the other nato countries who will fly the f-35. but they are responsible for paying the costs to integrate capability on their own aircraft. >> yeah, thanks. with regard to the kc-10, by the way, i'm glad to see the 35 -- the kc-46 pegasus is moving forward. we're all very pleased about that in washington state but on the 10, what other programmatic options would have if congress either prohibited that
retirement, the kc-10, as you might know we're famous for telling you all the aircraft you cannot retire and then, making you pay for that. so hopefully we can move beyond that this year but, if congress prohibited retirement of ck-10 what -- kc 10, what programmatic options would have to execute if we did prohibit that retirement. >> again, sir, i will start, but i know the chief will also jump in. before coming to the conclusion that the kc 10 would be retired if we have to go to the sequestration level, kc-135s were looked at very closely and, doing that operational analysis there would have been far too many of those that would have to come out in order to come up with the same cost savings. so about 12.6 billion savings for us over the five-year plan -- 2.6, if the five-year plan if the kc-tens were to come out. >> congressman, all i will tell
you there are no good options. every decision we're making is going to hurt. wherever we take the 2.3 or $2.5 billion will come out with another mission capability like i described in my opening statement. it will impact our capability and capacity. >> great. one last question, on this opportunity of growth and security initiative, i'm not quite sure what makes it different than just putting dollars into your readiness account and not calling the opportunity and security growth initiative. can you help me understand the difference between this initiative and just funding the air force? >> so this $26 billion fund which the air force would have 7 billion is contingent upon coming up with some offset savings. of course the president's budget plan has proposals how to do that but if, the offsets weren't there presumably the money could not be provided. so that is what makes it different. >> thank you. yield back. >> thank you, mr. wilson.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. and madam secretary and general we much, thank you for being here today. join with congressman forbes, that you make every effort to promote religious freedom to our servicemembers. my dad served in the air force in india and china. i know of the capabilities and competence of our military and very grateful to be, uncle of a person serving in the air force today. and i just know of your capabilities. secretary james, the primary russ national security launcher for satellites uses a russian made engine called rd-180. defense daily reported this week on this engine and stated, quote, it is rumored that russia could cut off supplying the rd-108 in the u.s. to in response to the economic sanctions, end of quote. i understand we have a two-year
stockpile of on these engines but i also know the air force just committed to a five-year procurement of the atlas launch vehicle. there are at least three american launch vehicles that utilize american-made engines that offer the full range of capabilities without relying on russian components. i believe it is in the interests of our national security that we should shift to american-made engines. what. what, madam secretary, is your indication on this. >> congressman, there is good news. we have a two-year supply so we have a little bit of breathing room. what i know about this engine association, we've had a fairly longstanding good relationship but something we have to keep our eye on and i do want to review it. >> i appreciate you looking into that. we all hoped for much more positive relationship with the russian federation but there are consequences to aggression in ukraine, aggression in the
republic of georgia. general i understand the air force decide the no to the fund the suite capes for the f-16s of the with the f-35 not expected to be fully operational to the mid 2020s, are you concerned about the air force suffering from a significantly, significant capability gap in the suppression of air defense mission and without capes, how is the air force to counter growing sophistication of many countries integrated air defense systems? >> sir, we have 10 integrated air defense systems we would be concerned about today. we believe by 2023, to 24, that will expand to 25. by that time frame we have to have a fleet that could operate capability to operate and remove those threats if we should ever have to do that. that is the f-35. we have to have that platform
fielded. everything we have in our modernization accounts we went through over the past year. we have cut about 50% of our planned modernization programs because of the impact of the sequester level funding over time. what we have done is funded the things absolutely required to make aircraft viable in the near to midterm against the threats that we know are there. anything that is nice to have or should have, is off the books for now. we will revisit this every year as we look at what the threat is doing and what we have to have to keep airplanes like the f-16 viable against the threat as it emerges. we simply don't have the mommy to do it all. this was prioritization issue, not a desire. >> and i really appreciate you following through on this and to advance. and i want to conclude, in regard, again, i, i was so offended by what congressman forbes said and you know, we can take political correctness to an extraordinary conclusion. as i, general, when i see you
today, when i see those ribbons i'm inspired. it just, it is an inspiration, your service but there are many places in our country that if they saw you in uniform they would be repulsed and, and so, we have just got to stand up for what's right and, and we need for you to stand up for, all of, truly, for religious freedom, for the standards of our country that have made it this country great and provided for the greatest extension of freedom and democracy in the history of the world. and with the victory in the cold war and so we shouldn't be ashamed and we should be standing up for positive religious principles and, and push back on political correctness. i yield. >> thank thank you. miss miss bardello, thank you, secretary james and general
welsh. as one of the long-range strike bomber caucus i look forward to work with you in the future and look forward to commitment to rebalance in the asian region. secretary james said she visited air force bases all over the nation. i wonder if she has been to the significant air force base in guam, den sore son. >> not yet. but i'm looking forward. >> i was going to extend an invitation to you. my question for either one of you regarding the long-range strike bomber. the lrs will be providing a bomber presence in the pacific as we work to update a aging b-52 fleet. now, the budget proposes an increase for the lrs to 914 million. is 914 million enough given the existing aging bomber fleet? and also, how critical is a bomber presence? >> so, i believe, yes, that
914 million is the right amount of funding for this year. of course it is a long-term program but that's right amount of money for this year and i think a bomber presence, the existence of our bombers is, extremely important. the range, the persistence, the flexibility that it gives our national leaders. time after time in history it helped to deter aggression and to actually control situations that otherwise would have escalated. so very important. >> general, do you also feel the same way? >> yes, ma'am. the united states has used bomber presence send messages since the berlin blockade. the b 5has been a symbol of in r american power and b-2 is symbol now. last year we used both to send a message to north korea. we think it is incredibly important. >> thank you. i have a couple of questions so i will have to make this quick. when i take them out to guam we meet with the airmen who fly the b-52s. they do have a great job as we
seen demonstrated in the quick response to the china adiz issue. i'm concerned about the b-52 radar capability. i understand the current b-52 is experiencing 20, 30 hour meantime and failures between very expensive to maintain. what is the plan and how can we mitigate the current risk these air crews are experiencing with this 30-year-old radar? >> congresswoman, as you know there was a plan in place for a radar placement program. that program went the same direction as the f-16 capes program we just discussed. it fell on the cutting room floor as a result of the requirement to pay $12.8 billion a year to, take, 12.8 billion a year out of top line over the next 10 years. we just can't afford it. >> well, thank you for that. and, my third question is, i understand that global hawks operating out of guam have been performing a number of critical missions in the pacific. the current budget proposes an
increase from 110 million to 45 million into reliability and censor improvements of the r q4. can you provide us with an update about global hawk's use in the pacific included plans for expanded basing locations and sales to allied nations. is this increase in funds in the rq-4 capability sufficient to reduce isr gaps especially in the asia-pacific region? >> so i would just begin saying everything i know about the global hawks which are based in guam, the global hawks in the pacific, they're doing a great job, day in, day out in variety of missions, particularly helpful in the humanitarian assistance program that we helped in the philippines after the major typhoon. and in terms of international sales, there is nothing, absolutely firm yet although i understand the republic of korea we're getting, we're getting close. >> general?
>> congresswoman, we're working, we believe the sale of four global hawks to south korea is imminent. we hope that is the case. we'll have first forward deployment of the global hawk to japan later this year. so i think we're doing more and more with our partners of the aircraft is performing very, very well. the money that you mentioned will be used this year to start censor transition from the u2 on to the global hawk for specialty sense source like the sire censor and camera used to provide treaty verification in the middle east. the problem with that movement going forward will be if the law remains the law, that funding will not be there to fund those upgrades. >> and again i just want to reiterate, my second question about the b-52s, i'm really sorry to see that we're not going to be able to do something about the problem they have. and i thank you both for the answers to my questions and i yield back, mr. chair. >> thank you very much. mr. turner. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i want to begin by associating myself with mr. forbes comments of great concern about the issues that he has raised with religious freedom. secondly, both of you received several questions about, that are directed at issue of disarming the united states nuclear capabilities and degrading them. i would ask the chairman to enter into the record "new york times" article that alleges that russia is violating the imf treaty. any issues with respect to disarming united states should be held in context we have. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary james, i have write paterson air force base in my district. over 12,000 people were furloughed as a result of sequestration, significantly impacting morale. we understand you're doing a budget that is forcing you into bad decisions and into tough constraints the reality that the cuts that you're doing are devastating to the air force. they're wrong. they affect morale and capability. although we have a discussion about whether or not you have made the right choices i like you to take a minute or so tell us how sequestration is really
devastating to the air force? we can't as members of the committee go out to the rest of congress, this is devastating if we can't do it in we can't have leadership military tell us. how is this affecting the air force negatively. >> return return to see questions tricks would after effect on readiness. which would also not be able to take it beyond, to be able practice the myriad of tasks which we need to be able to do if we go into contested environment. afghanistan was a non-contested. it was permissive known was shooting at us or jamming at us. but in pacific, other scenarios will would have things at it. we would lose more people. we would lose more aircraft if we to get into a situation without having those additional funds for readiness. that is one thing. we would have to retire all the
additional aircraft. that goes to real capability to get the job done. you heard the chief say we're already below what the combatant commanders say they want. we're also below the validated requirements. what they say they want, they want be able to do their job with the least amount of risk and there are validated requirements. in some cases we go beyond both. that puts the whole strategy at risk. >> thank you. i give the rest of my time to mr. bishop. >> madam, secretary, first of all i want to thank you in your opening statement reaffirming the nuclear triad and commitment to land-based icbm capabilities. i heard you correctly with that, right. >> right. >> thank you for following the law which seems unusual but in our environment that is something which to be congratulated. section 1056-e prohibited you doing environmental impact on the commissioning an icbm wing, specifically you followed that. i have appreciate that. but in your response to representative sanchez's questions, i do have three specific questions. i'd like some specific answers.
one, do you anticipate reducing the icbm fleet of 450 missiles? reducing that? number two, will any of those silos be put in warm status? number three, do you really believe you can conduct environmental status without congress changing that permits it. can you answer those. >> i don't have numbers memorizing. we're shooting for the new s.t.a.r.t. numbers. that is collectively what we're shooting for. the warm base status i think something in the next few weeks we'll have more to say about. that was the air force's recommendation. and i'm sorry, the third question, sir, one more time? >> do you actually believe you have authority to do environmental statement without congress changing the law that prohibits, specifically, 1056-e? >> there is different interpretations. i will just say that i'm holding. i as a secretary of the air force i'm holding until and unless i get more guidance. >> holding for what. >> holding until and i get more guidance. i think in next couple weeks that this will become more clear which way we will go.
>> i would like a follow up answer for all of those, if you have something more specific as to those numbers. when it becomes available. in follow-up to my colleague's questions can i simply ask the question, that if i'm a offended by your budget will you take it down? yield back. >> thank you. >> could you please answer back to him as soon as you get the information on those three specific questions? >> i will. >> thank you. miss tsongas. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you both for being here. general welsh i particularly want to thank you for your visit to hanscom air force base. great to have your wife join you too. meant a great deal to the commonwealth and communities around hanscom and its presence and many able and talented people serving at hanscom. i heard a lot of feedback how grateful you were both to take
the time to come and visit and highlight the remarkable work that is being done there. and secretary, james, great to have you on board. i would like, congresswoman would like to come to hanscom when your schedule allows for it. be great to have you come see the great work being done there. but welcome. and so as we're, as you both have noted, these are such challenging times, marked by increasingly capable enemies in an era of very taught financial resources. and as a department of defense is adapting to these new realities, we in congress as we heard today, have to scrutinize the changes that you're proposing but we welcome your analysis. you're very welcome analysis of the tradeoffs you have made as you tried to find a way forward. i'd like to focus on the need to make continued investments in research and development efforts in order to maintain our technological edge, given the very dynamic security environment that we live in.
coming from massachusetts, it is something where we really take great pride being part of that. because we see that it is precisely because of the invests that are being made in defense-related r&d that our servicemembers are better protected, they have access to life-saving technology and we as a country have peerless technological advantages on the battlefield. many of these advances also serve as force multipliers in the field and can lead to significant cost savings. so in a world where we do have a modernize constantly, the air force has to be well-positioned to build and sustain an environment that promotes innovation. is it the reality of our times that we're able to rapidly deliver the latest technological advances and these in turn help cut costs and protect our airmen and women. while the department of defense and congress partnered to undertake extensive acquisition
reform efforts over the past decades i'm concerned that the unique type of rapid acquisition required to meet the needs of the air force's information technology, cyber missions, that these pose unique challenges to the department of defense's acquisition system. so what is the air force doing to address a specialized i.t. and cyber acquisition needs of the force? and what are the services long-term plans to make sure that the air force is in a position to rapidly assess needs and field systems to meet the new requirements? >> so i will just begin with a philosophical comment. i totally agree with you that we have to focus on more rapidly delivering capability to the field. we did this during the urgency of war-time environment and i do not want to see us totally return to the ways of the past all of our programs take a deliberative and long term period to get going. we have pockets of this within the department of defense.
these pockets have to compete for the scarce resources alongwith everything else. i want you to know i'm personally very interested in working on this issue and trying to get our s and t levels back up to a more acceptable level. >> i think you note a very important issue. given the time frame some of this now requires, by the tile you've gotten to a certain place it is already obsolete. so it doesn't serve us, doesn't serve us as a country. general welsh, i don't know if you want to comment? >> congresswoman, the secretary also start ad new conversation with industry at the ceo, secretary level to look at issues like this and figure out how we can do a better job by talking to people who do a great job of it in private industry today. the i.t. world as you know, in the military we have not had great success developing systems over time in this arena. we have a lot to learn. she will have people advising her quarterly the best way to
look at some of these challenges to come up with a better approach than the ones we've taken in the past. we have a lot of people working very hard. we have not been successful. which means i believe we have to change the process. the people are good. the process we're using isn't working. >> i would agree with that i have seen remarkably talented people ham schunk by the process. so i encourage you to continue your working, very diligently making sure we bring needed reforms to the effort. thank you both. >> thank you, mr. conaway. >> thank you madam secretary and general welsh, welcome as well. i want to also associate with mr. forbes comments. i worry we have a school that is training leaders to lead men and women into come balt we have individuals who are so insecure and so insure of themselves that they can't coexist with the free expression of traditional religious views like that. that they lack self-purpose to be able not be offended by
something like that. i wonder if they're the right folks for that business? madam secretary, in all likelihood you will be the last secretary of the air force for this administration. 2017 is coming on us from audit standpoint. i appreciate mixing audit status as in opening statements. we reached point, we have the person we can hold responsible whether the air force succeed or not, on this very important issue and i would appreciate your full-throated support for that initiative. it is going to be hard all the other things you're trying to deal with, sequestration, uncertainties in budget, all nonsense we put you guys through, the air force has the furtherrest to go. that is not a badge of honor. because, the other, other folks are further ahead. i've got a, page out of last november's fire report which shows the planned deadlines for a variety of things that the air force needed to get done, in order to get to audit readiness.
not one of them have been met. everyone of those deadlines have been moved to 2014, or further. and, all of those deadlines were important to making, getting the air force ready on time. can you give us, general welsh, you as well, give us your current status where the air force is. are they going to make it? are you continuing the effort? >> so i'm having regular meetings on this first of all. it's a top priority to my. thank you for pointing out we're kind of we are where we are and it is a daunting challenge and i also heard the comparison we have fartherrest to go of all the military services but i want you to know we're both on it and pressing, very aware deadlines and the law. the other thing is, i'm sort of also watching experience of others and has become apparent to me, sometimes you may not feel you're 100% ready to go through the audit ability, but if you're 75, 80%, better to try even put don't make it because
the following year you will make it. so you learn sometimes even though you go through it and don't get it the first time around. so i'm watching that very closely as well, so all i can say to you in my first 11 weeks i have had several meetings on this already. i'm trying to be on top of it. as you said it is a daunting challenge. . . has finall finally gotten at lt one year of transactions audited and they learned a lot by going at it and as opposed to getting
ready. so i do appreciate that from getting ready to do is to just doing it and the issues that you will learn and support the staff to tell the american people that the entity that spends more taxpayer dollars than any other each year is a candid fact. they present that statement to taxpayers and you may very well nowhere that nicole has gone that you can't prove it so that is important to us. again i want to reiterate into this is a rhetorical question but if they approach the chaplain and said that makes me uncomfortable. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman and secretary and general welsh for
being here this morning. obviously we all have some serious concerns about the decisions of the proposals at least that's you have made in response to the sequestration and other budget restructurings. a very concerned and i think my colleagues here in particular are very concerned about the future ability that we have to protect the nation and secure our borders and to support our allies. i do want to thank you madam secretary and congratulate you and for being so hands-on. for going out and meeting in person with our air force personnel involved in the defense program. thank you for your service. you've given the nation and incredible number of service and thank you for bringing your wife
and daughter here today. i think they are a good reminder that while usurping the uniform, they serve too. the sacrifices are incredible. as a young man growing up in the air force family, i saw firsthand and experienced the sacrifices that my mother and my sister and myself made it to support a dead. i have a particular affliction for database. i lived and grew up there as a kid but also was there when the cuban missile crisis struck and they were right on the frontline of thfrontline of the defense oe nation and i believe it hopefully continues to be so as we go into the future. i have concerns obviously and we talked about it in this hearing before. we have several pilots in the
room including i think she may have left the retired colonel who was a pilot flying out of davis and your presence reminds us this is not a partisan issue. we have colleagues in the house and senate and both parties represent to say let's take another look at the decision of the proposal and i hope that we will still continue to look at that even as we consider how we make these incredible budget reductions. i want a plan out of concerns that have been raised about the american public awareness or lack of awareness of what the sequestration numbers are doing or taking into the national defense is something we need to be concerned about and educate our colleagues in the house and educate the american public. they don't understand that the path we are on is a grave
problem. with that preamble i want to ask you this morning about the a-10. when i talked to the army personnel that i also represent, they told me -- i know you said in your statement statement thag support to the ground troops in combat troops as critical missions the air force should maintain. and i've also heard the argument that the air force made that the advancement of the guided weapon systems allows for many more types of aircraft to provide effective air support. but there are critical elements of the mission that the multi-fighters simply cannot make and perform. so general and madam secretary if you could respond to these questions. if the a-10 is retired wit whatl support the ground troops during the danger and the forces within
100 meters and with planned for the u.s. troops going to have when engaging the enemy on the battlefield with moving targets below 1500 feet? this is what the a-10 does best. can you respond to both questions? >> i will start. thank you for your comments about me trying to be on top of things early on. i also tried to do quite a bit of my own due diligence on the a-10 because i heard the specialty capability and so forth, and it does some of these missions in a unique way area and what i have learned along the way briefing from the pentagon. i talked to the general odierno and dempsey. i seen the a-10 demonstration and i talked to pilots at the air force base who also done the mission. what i have learned over time is although it's a great aircraft and data does support superbly the other aircraft can do it as
well and 80% of what we have done in afghanistan has been by aircraft other than the a-10. so for example after some of those pilots they have been doing close air support as well so 20% by the a-10 and 20% by other aircraft. as of again, the mission would be covered. if you do a way how would you cover these? it would be other aircraft that might require other training for other pilots to be able to get good at that particular area that we feel it could be covered. >> the gentle man' gentleman's s expired. >> thank you mr. chairman. secretary james thank you for coming to colorado springs last week. it was good to see you there. you both know that the air force academy is in my district and like the representative, i am very disturbed about what happened with this cadet. i think it was a suppression of his religious rights. and i'm going to ask you in a
minute about funding the cuts of the air force academy and i want to defend the academy with my job strength it's been made a little harder because of that. before i get to that, let me talk about a different issue concerning -- and this is purely of local interest to the folks that live around there at the flight paths. there's been concerned about changes in the flight patterns, and i've expressed my concern to you and you said that you would work with me and you would work with the local residents on that and i appreciate that and just want to call that to your attention. on the funding issue, the air force academy is cutting ten majors and 100 positions because of budget considerations. now i don't see that happening dhappeningthough at the u.s. nal academy, at west point or at the merchant marine academy. why is there what appears to be a discrepancy in how the service
academies are treating budget cuts? >> thanks for the question. this is an important topic. one of the things i asked the general to do when she went to be the superintendent was to take a look at the air force academy. ask her if she figured out exactly what the programs were somehow they were organized. i asked her to form a small group and to design and private well to the air force academy would look like if she were building it today. not architecturally the program why is it with the academic curriculum b. and the force program, what with th would they program be like. and after she watched the way it is today at the end of her first year in this coming summer that i wanted to sit down with her and have her tell me if different than the way that we would design it today why is it different and why should we change. one of the things she has done is create a paper called the essence of the air force academy
which is her view and the view of a group she's working with the foot is absolutely required for the young men and women to go through the academ academy st we produce the best possible tenants for the air force and for the nation. as part of that, she's looking at everything from course content, number of majors offered command some of this is caught up in that effort. it's not all funding cuts and so i tell you that up front. >> that's a good explanation. on an entirely different subject with the 52nd airlift squadron losing airplanes, a related and associated unit is a 302nd. and among other missions they have the airborne firefighting mission which is important in the west for fighting wildfires being able to dump thousands of gallons of water on a wildfire.
so will those cuts in the 52nd airlift squadron hurt the capability of the 302nd, which is an associated unit being about to carry out its mission especially the mass mission in particular? >> i will have to get back to the specifics after talking with the national guard bureau and the chief of the international guard but i guarantee you a general is not interested in cutting the capability anywhere in the u.s. in fact right now we have been looking to expand it any way we can so i can't imagine we are going to impact that dramatically. >> that is a reassuring answer. i look forward to getting further specifics from you. last i just want to call to your attention the unfortunate tragic crash last year where one of the best pilots lost his life. are you familiar with the progress of the sea over the
years now, older ones don't really fit the best needs and what is the air force going to do to get a new and better generation of ejection seats. >> the airplane versus technological development in the seat it is very capable and it meets all of the requirements that we set for the seat. the problem in the incident specifically when lou guenther was killed was a high rate of speed and no seats we have today would protect you in that flight. the question is can we develop one and a fly larger envelope to handle a high air force. we have a study underwa under wo look at that now. >> i have a series of questions but first let me congratulate you, secretary and general.
the questions, and i think i will take these for the record because i have another issue i want to take up. the cruise missile about what is the status of the new long-range strike? what is the cost, what is the cost of the new bomber beyond the 913 million the fiscal year 15 budget, and could the new lrs serve the same purpose as the bomber and if not, why not? i ask that for the record unless you would like to go at that. a second coming of the nsa budget was a part of the dod budget, what reductions or increases would you recommend? the air force is now studying the next generation. what is the rationale for having the existing or future icbm
fleet and is this a part of the study for the demensi icbm progn when was the most recent comprehensive review or study of the nuclear strategy and given the tight budgets in the years ahead, do you belief it is wise and useful to conduct such a study? i think we will take those for the record since they are comprehensive. but this is the question that i have now. they are at the border. what is the status of the air force in reaction to this situation? >> we have deployed ten of them right now. they are doing a program called air policing. we poste plus it up with six
additional ones over the politic nations. we've also just deployed the f-16 to an aviation detachment we have there and we will add six more in the future so there will be 12. we are following that in april with the deployment for training in the air force to another base. that is the extent of what we have done along with flying v. e activity of a european command manages in theater. >> i will yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. secretary, secretary james, general, thank you for the service to the nation. general welsh i've traveled to the pacific command a number of times and as i've met with our allies, i've talke i talked to e combatant commanders and their staffs and talked about the challenges in the region and one thing that comes up consistently
is the chinese threat, and specifically can you give me from the air force perspective what you have as being able to counter that where you see the capability needing to go so that we can adequately address specifically in that region of the world we know the capability there and what it means as a threat to the forces. >> we started an effort a while back that now includes the army and marine corps and the intent is to get after the future approach to countering this it means the ability to detect us is getting better and better and the radar is standing longer and longer ranges. so how do we counter that as a military force and to do it
together because we will be fighting together. as all this effort is. we have been doing exercises and looking at the command and control arrangements and how do we better link via radar with air force and aircraft and what kind of data links require us to secure the situational pictures quicker we have the space born leader of this effort and it applies equally in the pacific as it was in the arabian gulf and the indian ocean. it's about range and information sharing and connectivity. so we are doing a everything we can to move this in a steady way. >> are you comfortable with the current state of readiness to counter that threat? >> i am not sure they would be able to do anything. they put the squadrons about 38% ready compared to the standard
of fully combat ready. to me that is unacceptable. >> secretary james, i want to ask about after 35 sustainability. as you know, there's concerns about affordability and the sustainability of the platform itself looking forward there's concerns that lockheed has the contract to make sure the functions and services going forward are there. there is concern about a five hour lag time for the aircraft. as we look at the challenges ahead, obviously needing that aircraft and also making sure that in this resource challenged environment we are making the right decisions and we have the right capability in that aircraft and we manage the costs and as things tend to get out of whack as the problems go up and we are back in the same situation where much fewer aircraft not being able to do the things we need to do. can you give me a perspective on
the affordability and sustainability for the f. 35 and where we are going and what is being done to make sure that it is indeed cost-effective and sustainable? iv leave we are headed in the right direction although i'm going to concur with what i think you're saying it is an enormously expensive program and it's enormously complex and a major leap ahead in the technology. so again in my first 11 weeks not only have i gotten the briefings in the pentagon, i've been out to edwards to the testing to see some of the training that we are doing with our pilots. i've met with our program manager a number of times. i met with the ceo of lockheed to report directly on what i saw to speed up certain things. it's going in the right direction but it's going to take a focus and leadership at all the different levels. think of the moment we have the
right people in the right job and that persistent focus and leadership is happening so we have a watchdog every single day and the sustainability over time is a huge area. it's one that is going to require a lot of thought and there might be -- i'm sure there's creative strategies as well that we have to work on. >> this is a critical piece of the modernization of the fleet and the problem is we have everything put here and the difficulty is if it continues to go above but just it doesn't get delivered on time and that exacerbates an already challenging budget and the critical mission needs that are out there across the service branches, so i want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to address sustainability and affordability. thank you mr. chairman. i would yield back. >> they just called the vote. we are going to monitor. it's a long time so we try to get as much as we can before we have to break for the votes.
>> secretary, general, thank you for your leadership and professionalism. i want to talk about personnel issues and i know secretary this is something you are very familiar with. the air force is supporting the dod efforts to slow the rate of growth in overall military conversation. we were able to sustain a number of increases over the last number of years and we all feel very strongly that we want to support the men and women that serve the country and their families. and yet we are faced with this dilemma. it's tough. so if you can talk us through a little bit about your own thinking and the extent to which it may or may not affect the recruitment retention in the future we are also dealing with, perhaps, cutbacks in housing allowances, we are looking at
possible increases in commerce. prices from and in fact the air force is sort of going ahead and what some might describe as a piecemeal fashion without waiting for the commission to come forward with their recommendations. help us understand your thinking on this and really how we can look at those changes that you're suggesting in light of other things that we might not be able to do if we don't move forward and to do that. >> so you said it is part of the package of the tough choices that were made, and of course the compensation changes are for all of our military. i think it was at its core. it was a tough judgment call but it related to can we do this for a few years? i don't think anyone wants to do this in perpetuity but can we get by for a few years, so part of the data that everyone looked at his oat as are we competitive
aggregate with the private sector and i think people said yes, we are. the further judgment call had to deal with, you know, would we plow the savings back into the readiness modernization and of course we are committed to that. the other thing is we are not seeing retention problems at the moment. as a matter of fact we are offering incentives to encourage the air men to lead the service. leave the service. at the moment retention is very high and we are getting recruits and having to turn people away at the front door so that the momentum numbers are good and if it's a judgment call and watchdog it's because we can't get out of control. can we get to buy a year or two and we are taking this a year at a time. i think the judgment call was a hard one but yes, we can. >> i would look at it as the united states congress, and i'm
not blowing smoke out anyone, has been exceptional the last ten to 15 years at taking care of the pay entitlements and benefits for the united states military. it's been remarkable. and you've all seen the growth. the scales are up 40%. the cost has gone from $60,000 per year total investment to $90,000, total investment because the fantastic job of taking care of our people. but that curve is growing like this now. we have to put it on a path we can sustain. we aren't talking about taking money out of people's pockets. we are slowing growth and that is the department effort. i believe everyone understands having the comprehensive look would be a great benefit. >> if we ask and their families would suggest they don't want to see any cuts but i wonder when you assess that if you query the
valuations or whatever tools you use and i know all the services use some. are we giving them aid troops picture of the cost of these cuts versus other things they wouldn't be able to do in that training or readiness? how are you kind of working with them to have them prioritize what's best for them? >> first i would say in the beginning of the tour on the air force and walk around workspace as i do town halls everywhere i go and talk to the air men and the number of things they bring up to me is during that period of sequestration i couldn't get spare parts and d to do my job. training got canceled. those are the things in the committee we would call readiness types of issues. they typically have been brought up the compensation issues until i bring it up in a town hall.
then as you say of course everyone is interested. i haven't met a person that wouldn't be rather paid a little bit more than less. so they feel that way, too. and they bring up what's on their mind it tends to be the work environment -- >> the time has expired. doctor fleming. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to welcome our panel today. you and i. he recently had a sitdown conversation and it did include religious liberty. again a big concern. i join my colleagues as we are all concerned about that and one of the major pieces of this is that we are worried that this idea in the law that good order and discipline is now becoming the excuse for political correctness and i think that's very quickly tramples the first amendment rights of certainly the air men because we are
seeing this in the air force far more than the other services. you heard about the incident where we have another report. pod of fox news says two weeks ago it was reported that the maxwell air force base in alabama came to distribute bibles to anyone that wished to voluntarily have one. as you may recall they been distributing bibles at the military bases since fdr, since world war ii. it's a long-held tradition. they were turned away and as of this time two weeks later the situation hasn't been resolved to be a debate not been able to do something they were able to do for decades. i would love to have your reaction. >> i'm not familiar with that. we will have to get back to those specifics.
my overall reaction, and i apologize if i got wordy about the policy but it's a balancing act in that expression of religion with the needs that the military are not giving the appearance for an actor body of forcing anything. >> madame secretary, this has worked well for centuries since the days of george washington we have chaplains. i served in the military. this wasn't an issue it's only been an issue recently. traditions that have been long-held where military members have been able to express themselves we have a large swath what has changed is the behavior of the military services. we have had read the just people before we had a nation. it's the attitude and behavior of the military services.
>> my wife and i when we worked at the academy in the 80s and served as a comment on that we ran the program that is a program for catholic and christian cadets. i know all kind of people at the air force academy then and now would disagree with your assessment of there being a problem with reba just persecution at the air force academy. i would invite -- >> excuse me for interrupting what we asbut we ask you in reso that are you saying people are more religious than expressing their beliefs now board and then click >> you have to get the facts right and to try to stay on emotional until you know what happened. >> there are cases he hasn't had the article. i would be happy to explain them to you. >> i don't have the time to go
through all that. but i would ask you to do is to provide written answers and explanations and examples where others have been reporting this and accurately. >> i would be happy to talk to the caucus and do anything you would like. what we have been doing in this area since the single biggest frustration i've had in the job is a perception that somehow there is religious persecution inside the united states air force. it isn't true. we have incidences like everybody. we investigate every one of them and we've asked every chaplain in the air force. they said no. i'm telling you there is a perception that we are in the middle of. >> again, i'm running out of time here. i've spoken with your chaplain, and i think that he has some of the same concerns and i would invite you to talk with him. are you familiar --